Wikipedia introduces drafts to give freedom to authors

Editors were deleting work before it could ever be finished, now authors can hold off publishing

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
December 23, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/33ef

I've always been kind of fascinated with the types of people who write Wikipedia entries, especially the ones that are incredibly detailed and/or insane. People are extremely possessive of their Wikipedia pages, and it begs the question: who are the people who have the time, and the inclination to do this?

(My favorite example of a crazy Wikipedia entry: the now-forgotten mid-90's comedy My Fellow Americans, starring Jack Lemmon and James Garner as bickering ex-Presidents on the lam. Someone came up with every scenario, including when and how, this movie would have been able to fit into a real-world timeline. It was pretty amazing, but, sadly, all that work has since been deleted.)

I've never written on Wikipedia page before, but there was a big problem users were experiencing: any work on the page had to be saved right away, even if the user was in the middle of their work. And, since people are very controlling over what goes on a particular page, it was being deleted before the user could finish.

Finally, Wikipedia has addressed the issue by introducing drafts, which give users more leeway and freedom to write their entries before publishing them. 

"For most of Wikipedia’s history, we encouraged editors to create new encyclopedia articles by publishing immediately. Just find a page that doesn’t exist, type in content, and after you hit save, it’s shared with the world," the company wrote.

"This helped Wikipedia grow to the millions of articles it has now, but the project has matured in many ways, and we need additional tools for creating great new encyclopedia articles."

So, from now on, users will be able to start drafts, which will not be visible via search. They give users more room to craft their words without having them deleted by someone else.

And, apparently, that was a major problem. In fact, according to Wikipedia's own data, around 80% of entries in English, Spanish, French, and Russian were deleted within minutes for not being up to snuff.

This was a problem mostly in "larger Wikipedias where quality standards are very high," Wikipedia said.

"By creating a draft, authors will have more time and space to gradually work on a new topic, and can get constructive feedback from other editors."

Drafts will start on the English-language Wikipedia, and will most likely be spreading to other languages soon, though no official timeline is given for that.

Of course, this will not stop entries and updates from being deleted anyway, but at least the authors will have more of a chance to prove their worth before having their work rejected.

(Image source: http://www.123rf.com)